Bryan Sheehan: Mayo need new blood fast to stay at top table

As a veteran of many battles with the men from the West, Bryan Sheehan looks at what Mayo need to do to get back in the hunt after their early exit…


If you’ve been following my columns, you’ll know I said after Mayo played Galway that they wouldn’t make the Super 8s and so it’s proved.

I just felt with the age profile of the team, the miles they had on the clock and the way they play the game at full tilt if they were to go down the back-door route, it would take an awful lot out of them.

Tom Parsons suffered a horrible injury the first day out and then Seamie O’Shea picked up a shoulder injury, so they’ve had their problems in that regard.

But, the biggest thing for me was that they’ve introduced so few players and didn’t bring any new stars through. Unfortunately, that has caught up with them.

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Freshen up or go stale

Looking back the last couple of years and it’s the same guys for Mayo over and over again. You need to introduce a few new faces every year, that keeps things fresh and it keeps fellas honest.

Even just for something new in training, if you’re marking the same fella all the time you’re not being challenged. You’re not being introduced to anything new or being forced to solve different types of problems.

The lack of new blood really was their downfall towards the end, they just didn’t seem to have the panel to keep going.

A lot of their big players like Parsons, Keith Higgins, Andy Moran, Colm Boyle and Seamus O’Shea are well into their 30s and they’ll need to decide whether or not to commit to it again.

It’s going to be a long winter and if the existing players hang on, that’s great. However, they still need to go out and find three or four new players if they are to compete with the top teams.

Rochford has some thinking to do

It would be a shame to lose those senior players who have given so much to Mayo. Christ, they really do deserve an All-Ireland.

Maybe this break will do them good, they can start recovering from a number of tough seasons and take some time to reflect. It might be that all the football caught up with them.

It’s very early days to be looking at Stephen Rochford’s position as manager. He’ll sit down with his backroom team and see what players and tactics could they use to get them to compete.

If they feel they’re up to the task and the commitment is there they might keep going. If they don’t, they might just step away.

Rochford has a fantastic club record, he’s brought Mayo to two finals in three years, but this year didn’t work out for them. His record speaks for itself, so he just needs to sit down over the winter and see if he wants to give it a go.

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